Sunday, May 3, 2015

The one where I list things I've learned so far...

I'm just over halfway through chemo and it seems high time to list the things I've learned so far:

1. Appreciate your nose hairs. Seriously. I didn't think about it until I didn't have any. Stuff just rolls right out and if you aren't prepared with kleenex, you will turn into a preschooler wiping your snot with your sleeve.

2. Don't fight the fuzzy head. Being bald has taught me more about self-confidence in two months than all the years after puberty combined. I can still be funny and smart and adorable without hair. This doesn't mean I don't miss my ponytails - - but I don't NEED them to feel complete.
A good friend let me borrow this chef hat. Of course I did my best Swedish Chef impression. 

3. BE APPRECIATIVE OF YOUR NURSES AND LAB STAFF!! Take them donuts. Tell them thank you. Be nice and smile. These folks are amazing and selfless and wonderful and lots of other adjectives. Seriously, they hardly know you and yet they immediately care so much. How great is that?

4. Good friends and family are so damned important. They keep you grounded and surrounded and feeling loved and supported. They make you food and make you laugh and make you remember that you are strong and capable - - even when you don't think you are.

5. Don't let the bad thing(s) define you. I am more than two tumors. Life is continuing to happen all around me. I cannot forget, and will not forget, that my friends still need support in their endeavors, my daughter still needs "gentle reminders" to practice her guitar, my husband still needs to vent about crappy days at work, my brothers still need their big sister to cheer them on, and I still have responsibilities at work. I still love listening to music and dancing around the house. I still love yelling at sporting events on my TV. Cancer is a thing that is happening in my world, but it is not my entire world.

6. Perspective. PerspectivePerspective. Things might be bad but they can almost always be worse. Do not forget that. Fight your fight and know that there are others out there fighting a bigger one.
See what I mean? Things can always be worse. 

7. Running pants (and yoga pants) are "real" pants. I used to be sorta judge-y about this but they are currently in my regular rotation. Because they are comfy and if I happen to fall asleep in them, they double nicely as pajamas. Some days we're all lucky I'm wearing pants, period. Ain't got time to worry about if they are stretchy or not.

I know there's more to this list, but I think these are most of the big ones. Cancer has changed me and will continue to change me. Not just physically, but also emotionally. It will continue to change me, and not always in an unpleasant way. I've been so lucky to be a recipient of an enormous amount of light and love from so many folks - - it's my great pleasure to try and give that back in as many ways as I can.